Some public officials are eager for the arts and entertainment resurgence next week and are calling for more caution. On Wednesday, Jumaane Williams, the city’s public defender, urged Cuomo at a press conference to postpone planned reopens, which will include theaters, music venues and comedy clubs, citing her concern over the spread of variants of the virus. . New York and New Jersey currently have the highest per capita rates of Covid-19 cases in the country, averaging 39 and 47 new cases per 100,000 people in the past week, respectively.
“We have to reduce the rush to reopen,” Williams said. “One of the side effects of rushing to reopen is that it makes people feel safe to start doing things again.”
Mr. de Blasio was joined at the virtual press conference by two Broadway artists, André De Shields, a Tony winner for “Hadestown,” and Telly Leung, whose roles have included starring in “Aladdin.” They both appreciated the mayor’s support.
“We are ready, we have stayed in shape, our voices are strong,” De Shields said. “All we need is a stage.”
Mr. Leung said that the reopening would require security measures for the artists and audience members.
“This pandemic has hit our industry particularly hard,” he said. “We all have a long way to go as a community, but I really think today is a very good first step in our healing.”
The Broadway League, which represents theater owners and producers, and Actors’ Equity, the union representing 51,000 actors and stage directors nationwide, welcomed the mayor’s announcement. The union, which has banned its members from working on all but a few dozen productions before live audiences over the past year, has been eager to see its members vaccinated to make their return to the stage safer.
Mary McColl, the union’s executive director, said in a statement that the mayor understood that theater workers could not socially distance themselves, so testing and the availability of vaccines were “critical to maintaining a safe workplace.”